Recent Eats Friday #7 + Thanksgiving Recipe Planning

This week, I tried out a few recipes for Thanksgiving. Last Saturday, I spent forever searching through my recipes for appropriate dishes for the holiday. I settled on a few, along with a few new ones to test out…only to change my mind again last night.

I tested out two new recipes this week. The first was these Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls from Oh She Glows.

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As I mentioned in a previous post, these basically tasted like baked stuffing, so I will be making these for Thanksgiving. Instead of making the Cranberry Pear Sauce to accompany it, I’ll use the cranberry-orange sauce my Mom makes each year as a dipping sauce.

The other recipe I tried was this Vegan Roasted Garlic Cheddar Dill Mashed Potatoes recipe (with roasted cauliflower on the side)

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I had high hopes for this recipe, but I wasn’t a fan. I didn’t like the nutritional yeast, as it simply tasted like fake cheese to me, and I didn’t love the dill. Oh well.

I was thinking about making a Sweet Potato Gumbo recipe that I like, but quickly realized that a stew isn’t exactly the easiest recipe to add to a Thanksgiving plate. #ThanksgivingFail

I’ve got one more recipe to test out tonight, Fall Vegetable Baked Spaghetti with Pumpkin Tofu Ricotta. It looks amazing, but who knows?

Other options I thought of for food are this Vegan Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta that I made again this week, this time with broccoli.

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For Thanksgiving, I might make it with cauliflower or even butternut squash, to make it more of a fall dish.

And I might even make this Lemon Dill Tofu dish, which is really delicious….although not Thanksgiving-y at all.

If I had really planned a lot in advance, I would have tested out a bunch more vegan Thanksgiving recipes that were more traditional but hey, I’m doing my best. I also have been trying to find recipes that are still healthy, which is no easy feat, as neither vegan nor healthy is something any traditional Thanksgiving dish would ever be described as.

As for dessert…I’m being a bit more lenient. I would say the two desserts I’m planning on making are healthier than your average desserts, but certainly still indulgent.

I’m not planning to test these out before Thanksgiving Day (because it would be very dangerous to have a whole pie & a batch of cookies sitting around my apartment) but I’m just hoping they turn out well.

I’m going to make this Crustless Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Struesel, which is actually quite healthy, as far as desserts go.

For a more non-traditional dessert, I’m making these Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies because who doesn’t like chocolate cookies? These are a little bit less healthy, but still much better than your average chocolate cookie. They also look super easy to make. Let’s hope they’re a hit!

In other food news, this curry happened.

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This was Massaman Curry with onions, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, spinach, and some brown rice.

And of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without a smoothie bowl.

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This was my traditional mix of almond milk, spinach, frozen banana, blueberries, and raspberries, Sunwarrior protein powder, and cacao powder. Topped with some brown rice crispies.

Have a great weekend! Thanksgiving will be here before we know it!

Back into Strength Work

During marathon training, from June to October, I began strength training with a routine mainly focused on core and upper body, with a little bit of hip stability work. This routine was a step back from the more intense full-body strength that I had been doing over the previous winter. During the second half of training, I got bored with that routine, and my strength training became yoga here and there, short & random upper body/core workouts, and just plain rest days.

I don’t regret moving away from strength training, especially in the month leading up to the marathon, because it allowed me to both mentally and physically focus more on running. I think that is part of what allowed me to do so well during my first marathon. However, I definitely lost some strength and muscle definition, which wasn’t ideal.

For the past three weeks, I’ve been intending to get back into some more serious strength training. At the same time, after spending four months on a strict, challenging marathon training plan, I also wanted to take a more laid-back approach to exercise, and simply do the workout I felt like doing each day. That led to very little strength training, as I kind of lost all of my motivation to do so when I was running so much. I’ve been taking a strength class on Fridays, but it’s already become too easy (it focuses on lighter weights/endurance, which ends up being ok for upper body, but way too light for lower body exercises, and the core work is also too easy.) I’ve also been doing short 20 minute circuits of core/upper body work. Somehow, I just really didn’t feel like doing any serious strength work.

I’m glad to say that this morning, I think I finally changed that. I took Monday off from exercise, due to a slight hip flexor strain (which is all fine now). Tuesday & Wednesday I ran 5 miles each morning, early, because I had to be at work at 9am. (Like a normal person…ha.) This morning, my schedule was flexible again, so I decided to actually get in some strength work and go to the gym in the morning.

I went in with no plan. Thank goodness I have my personal training certification and can actually get away with that. I made up the routine as I went along, trying to work all of my muscles, and somehow I got in an amazing 45-minute total body workout that I actually *gasp* enjoyed! I thought I’d share it with you below in case you are looking for some strength training inspiration.

I felt pretty great during the workout, but quite jello-y afterwards. Seriously, replying to emails made my arms tired.

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And this is probably how I’m going to feel tomorrow, especially since this is the first real lower body strength work I’ve done in like…6 months?! Let’s hope I survive.

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Anyway, let’s get to the workout!

For this workout, I paired two exercises together to form circuits, alternating between sets of each until I had completed 4 sets of each exercise. (So the entire workout is 32 sets of exercises total!)

1a. Assisted Pull-ups x 90 lbs. counterweight x 10 reps
1b. Bench Press x 55 lbs x 10 reps

2a. Captain’s Chair Leg Lowers (Core work: Tuck knees, extend legs, lower with control) x 12 reps
2b. Seated Rows x 55 lbs x 10 reps

3a. Static Lunges x 25 lbs x 12 reps/side
3b. Side Lying Hip Abduction with resistance band x 15 reps/side

4a. Side Hip Raises x 12 reps/side
4b. Deadlifts x 65 lbs x 10 reps

Enjoy the workout!

Workouts {Week of 11/9}

Hi everyone! I hope you all had great weekends. I’ve been enjoying the cool fall weather and got in a great 10 mile run on Saturday afternoon.

Speaking of running, my workouts lately have been a bit random, but I’ve been pretty fine with that. Right now my plan is to run a few days of the week, get in a few days of some type of strength training, and to take some group fitness classes for fun.

Here’s what my workouts looked like last week:

Monday: 5 mile run
Tuesday: 4 mile run
Wednesday: Body Attack (45 minutes high intensity cardio + some strength)
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Forge (60 minute strength class w/ some cardio intervals)
Saturday: 10 mile run
Sunday: 30 minutes Body Jam (dance!) + 20 minutes core/chest strength training

For the upcoming week, I’m still not planning out my workouts ahead of time, and just seeing what I feel like doing each day (or the night before). Still, I  hope to get in a little bit more strength training, or at least more challenging strength training.

I still have a limited gym membership, so I can only go from 9am-4pm or after 7pm, so it’s been more difficult to get to the gym during the week since I’ve been working pretty much full time now. I might have to upgrade! We shall see…

On the food front, I tried out a possible recipe for Thanksgiving last night, and it turned out great! This was Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls from Oh She Glows. It was on a list of Thanksgiving recipes, and seemed vaguely Thanksgiving-y with the walnuts and cranberries, but it turned out to be just like baked stuffing. If you’re still looking for some vegan-friendly Thanksgiving recipes, give this one a try! I’ll definitely be making it again next week :)

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